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CIA v. FBI in Petraeus scandal

November 13th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The real scandal playing out in the United States right now is how the most important agencies in American government are handling the ongoing investigations, Tim Weiner says.

The former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist knows America's top institutions inside and out, having written acclaimed books about the FBI and CIA.

“The scandal is that one FBI agent took the raw reporting in this investigation and delivered it without authorization to a member of Congress,” he told CNN’s Hala Gorani on Tuesday. “That is not how the game is played. That is dirty pool.”

There has been long-standing rivalry between the FBI and the CIA and a turbulent history of a lack of communication and cooperation. Weiner says the lack of information sharing was all too evident after the September 11, 2001, attacks and believes the current scandal does nothing to help the longtime unease. 

“The CIA is going to be mad about this because here's a rogue FBI agent destroying the reputation of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. They better not start up that feud again, because this country will be a more dangerous place - more vulnerable if they do.”

Weiner believes too many of the facts still are unknown and so much of the story is being driven by speculation, even though the world does know that Petraeus did indeed have an extramarital affair.

“As a French general once said, it was worse than a crime. It was a blunder,” Weiner told Gorani.

Is Petraeus pillow talk a security threat?

While it may be merely a blunder in the civilian world, an extramarital affair is punishable, according the military's Code of Conduct.

Petraeus was no longer in the military as head of the CIA. But General John Allen is a member of the military, though the U.S. government has made no allegations about him in the ongoing enquiry into his e-mails with Jill Kelley.

The investigation has put Allen’s nomination to become NATO's supreme allied commander on hold and left the CIA without a director. Weiner believes that might be the deepest impact of the scandal so far.

“There have been five [CIA] directors in the last eight years. It's been quite a revolving door,” Weiner says. “It's a dirty, difficult, dangerous job.”

Tough choice on Petraeus' successor

CNN’s Juliet Fuisz produced this piece for television.

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soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Glenn

    It's "delivered to a member of Congress without authorization" not "delivered it without authorization to a member of Congress"!

    November 13, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
    • policingThePolice

      No, it should be "delivered it, without authorization, to a member of Congress"! Let´s not be snobs.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:57 am | Reply
    • Paul

      Lord, guys, all of the above are correct, proper English.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply
    • al

      in Spanish it would be "delivered without authorization to a member of congress " no "it" any Glenn is right..

      November 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
      • Paulwisc

        Sure, if all our words are being translated from Spanish. I don't think that's the case.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • I hate liver.


      November 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Reply
      • Deana

        Yep, liver is pretty bad!

        November 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • gotmercury

        Liver is great as dog food. Healthier and cheaper than cans!

        November 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  2. A. Andie

    The person being interviewed is trying to slant the information. If this was about the FBI leak, then that would be the focus. There is no information of an investigation of how that happened (yet), but the information and emails that are coming about Patraeus are growing every day. If this was not an issue, then why step down? The American public can accept that people have affairs in office, as Bill Clinton proved, as long as that person does a good job in their position.

    So what is Patraeus hiding? If his mistress had a security clearance, what is the issue?

    November 14, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
    • UJ

      Because simply having a security clearance is not enough. In the intel community, one must also have a "need to know" to be authorized access to classified information. A person with a TS is not authorized access to secrete information without a need to know.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:51 am | Reply
      • Pat

        UJ is correct.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:40 am |
      • InfoSecRunnr

        Second that. UJ is correct.

        November 14, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • USASinkingAndNoOneCares

        secrete information? Spoken like a useless-chair-consuming government operative. Useless, cowardly, ineffective.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:19 am |
      • USAHasSunkandNoOneNotices

        You sound bitter. This pleases me.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • A. Stacy

      I agree, people are attracted to each other. its normal. If his lover had a security clearance, and it was obvious that she had a high level security clearance, what is the problem?

      November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
      • edward insight

        For access to a specific piece of classified information, an individual must have a security clearance appropriate to the security level of the information and must also have a a need to know the particular piece of information which is essential to the work or office the individual holds. This compartmentalizes the information so one disloyal individual cannot have access to the entire body of classified information and release an entire store of information to those who would use it against the country. There are also requirements for proper storage and control of classified information. Having said information on a home computer is illegal regardless of whether the individual has a clearance for the information.

        November 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  3. SadDay

    Too bad we lack men of integrity, hard-fast ethics, and true leadership qualities in America. All we have are a bunch of self-centered "me me me" sociopaths. Look at our judicial system. It's a disgrace. It's become an auction house riddled with unchecked criminal behavior the FBI KNOWS ABOUT AND IGNORES. "Not enough bling for the FBI heads to bother." Dishonest lawyers now invade ALL THREE branches of government, undermining checks-and-balances – this results in ridiculous laws for "judicial immunity" and "only the local bar will investigate its own". As a result, America is now held hostage and has become a riot, pure chaos, unpredictable, and unreliable. Worst of all – our government attacks us now.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:36 am | Reply
    • A. Stacy

      Yes, there are bad apples in the Government. There are probably bad apples in the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. These branches of the Government are in place to deal with conflict and threats to our national security. They are also in place to investigate crimes and criminal organizations. They arent the "Morality Police" that is a Saturday Night Live skit featuring the "Church Lady!"

      November 14, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • gotmercury

      Hoover would clean up this net of nasties. We need more cross dressers in the FBI.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  4. SadDay

    As as all of you play "grammar editors" our country sinks. Great work. You'll be speaking properly as you lose everything.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • Paulwisc

      The country is fine. The Sky is not falling, Chicken Little, no matter how much you want it to be.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  5. Pamela

    I believe an important question is why did the FBI spend so much time and valuable resources acting upon a complaint by a citizen who complained of "threatening," allegedly jealous emails. I wonder if I would have received the same amount of service.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  6. Legal K

    @SadDay – you're exactly correct.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply

    CIA is spying agency while FBI is detective agency. Lines should be clearly demarcated for smooth functioning. Neitther spies nor detectives are above law. Only difference is that spies cannot arrest; register cases or prosecute. Detectives ought to.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
  8. dasea

    I want to at least hear what the CIA panel members would have done if this train of actions was followed. Suppose it was apparent to the board that your director was having an extra marrital affair with a new york author while delivering information about operations in Iraq while at his current appointment as the director of intelligence. What happened has happened. Maybe it would be more informative to everyone if we could learn about what would have happened under the CIA internal governance. Perhaps shed some light on a better, more secretive approach. What punishment would have been handed upward to your superior, and how would that have been carried out?

    November 14, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
  9. Jasper Jeep

    So in all this, all the CIA cares about is inter-agency rivalries? That's just pathetic.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  10. dog4dog

    i think congress and the president should have been informed before anyone else and not to mention the problems the fbi made for the generals family, general p should be remembered for all the good he did, lets not forget the very public promotions shortly after bin laden's death, i bet he had a little or more to do with that and lets not forget his surge force into iraq which was what shinseki said we needed in late 2002 and was fired for, petraeus saved this country in time of war and he should be remembered for fact i am a registered republican who voted for obama but with hopes for general petraeus in 2016....and those hopes still stand

    November 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  11. dog4dog

    whoever dropped the dime on the general better make themselves famous real quick.....i dont think there is a person/group of people i would be more affraid to f&%k with then the cia

    November 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • MCGH1

      Deep Throat, Military Brass style.

      December 4, 2012 at 7:00 am | Reply
  12. oldleftcoastdude

    It's always been the FBI vs. every other agency, Federal, state and local. It's all about the press image for that agency, since they can't find water in the ocean without being led by the hand and having it pointed out to them.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  13. Alex

    If you think about it for a moment, somebody behind the scenes made a blow to the U.S. beyond anything that has been done before. The U.S. general appointment to the NATO is in suspense and the CIA has been decapitated! Who's next? The President? Then it'll be check & mate for the U.S. big time!

    November 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  14. Alex

    Jill K. and that "mysterious" shirtless FBI agent should be prosecuted for treason and for undermining national security at once!

    November 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
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